Question: What is the law for a prayer for judgment? Does this apply only to traffic citations or citations in general?
Answer: You didn’t mention your state. However, the prayer for judgment (PJC) is unique to North Carolina.
What is a prayer for judgment? A prayer for judgment is a guilty plea that asks that the offense isn’t entered into the record against you. And prayer for judgments can only be used twice per household in a five-year time period.
But for the purpose of North Carolina car insurance, insurance companies typically only recognize one PJC per household every three years.
The conditions typically include that if, within a specific time period, the accused repeats the crime or a similar one, they will face both charges. However, if the accused stays clean for the time period the record is expunged, the accused will face no trial or punishment for the alleged offense. In North Carolina, the probationary time period is typically three years.
But the petition isn’t guaranteed — a PFJ can result in increased car insurance costs, license suspension and license points. And whether you receive a prayer for judgment continued is up to the court’s discretion.
If you have used the prayer for judgment plea for a traffic offense or other type of violation of the law in North Carolina, then you should have been advised of the conditions you must follow.
A prayer for judgment isn’t an option for a DWI charge or speeding tickets for driving more than 15 mph over the speed limit. And remember: A successful petition is not a guarantee and is at the judge’s mercy.
Resources & Methodology
Cotten Law Firm. “Prayer for Judgement in Raleigh.” Accessed November 2022.
— Michelle Megna contributed to this story.